It’s an embarrassment that this even needs to be explained, yet here we are. Building a snowman is a symbol of white supremacy no different than erecting a statue of Hitler or Trump himself. Yet – it’s become a seasonal custom for families of all walks of life to ignorantly build snowmen soon after the first snowflake touches the ground. Worse yet, children are often involved without a second thought about its racist undertones.
Let’s think about it. What comprises the term “Snowman”? It’s snow and man.
Snow, which is white – the color of the dominant and oppressive race in American culture and around the world. We understand that “whiteness” is not something that can be controlled, but white people systematically fail to acknowledge or do anything about their white privilege. They act as though they are victims themselves, completely unaware of the fact that their skin color has never contributed to any hardships in their life.
The second half of the word is man. As if this needs any further explanation – white men have been solely responsible for the regression of the human species. Be it economically, culturally or historically – white men are at fault for everything wrong with the world. Until they fess up to it, they are still ignorantly held accountable for their actions, not just of themselves, but of their ancestors.
My six year old girl came inside one snowy afternoon and told me to look at what she had built outside. To my horror, I saw that she built a snowman. I tried to contain my anger but I screamed so loud, the neighbors down the street heard me. I quickly ran to the garage and grabbed a tank of gasoline and doused the snowman she made, lit a match and burned it to the ground. My daughter watched with tear-filled eyes as she realized how close she had come to creating a monument to white supremacy. I forgive her for that.
- Karen Libtehrd, 34, mother of two in Vermont
Teaching children, or worse, encouraging children to build snowmen is not an exercise of their creativity. In fact, it’s where one of the tenants of the patriarchy start. If a child of color or a young girl willingly builds a snowman, they are subjecting themselves to a life of oppression.
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